Greece among 65 countries demanding safe passage of people out of Afghanistan


Greece has joined 65 other countries in asking that Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart, be allowed to do so.

State broadcaster ERT reported on Sunday that the Greek Foreign Ministry was seeking to secure the safe passage of two Afghan interpreters and their families. The translators had worked for a Greek unit.

“Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained,” the joint statement reads.

“The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”

A man pulls a girl to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Stringer.

Some of the other signatories on the statement are Australia, The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the US and UK, among many others.

This statement comes as the world watched on with dismay on Monday after two decades of a US-led Western campaign in Afghanistan collapsed within hours when the Taliban took control of the capital Kabul.

Chaos unfolded at Kabul international airport as thousands of Afghans tried to flee the country, with several people clinging to the outside of a US military plane as it took off and plunging to their deaths, officials said.

Britain and other European nations say they will not recognise any government formed by the Taliban and want the West to work together on a common stance.

Chaos at Kabul airport. Photo: AP News.

But UK and European leaders have so far not spoken forcefully on Afghanistan, and their hands are tied in many ways: They have little leverage over the Taliban and they are deeply reluctant to publicly criticise the withdrawal decision by the United States, their powerful NATO ally, or comment on their own role in the failed intervention.

NATO countries were left with little choice but to pull out the roughly 7,000 non-American forces in Afghanistan after US President Joe Biden announced in April that he was ending the US involvement in the war by September, 20 years after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

This morning, Biden defended his decision to withdraw troops, insisting it would be wrong to ask American troops to risk their lives for a cause that Afghan soldiers and political leaders were not willing to fight for.

“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said at a press conference. “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time withdraw US forces.”




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